Essay On Canadian Senate Reform

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The Canadian Senate has been a fundamental part of Canadian Democracy since the Constitution Act, 1867. It was created to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority in the House of Commons. For 147 years the Senate has acted as the house of “sober-second” thought in the Canadian Parliamentary system. Overall, the senate has performed exceptionally at its role, but due to recent scandal and corruption the good work of the Senate been ignored. This has caused calls for reform to be brought back into the Canadian spot light. This paper will look at how the Canadian Senate should not be reformed. Intent at confederation, its role in parliament and its role as a final check and balance are all reasons the status-quo of the Canadian …show more content…

The Senate was intended to be a place of legislative review for the work passed by the House of Commons (Rémillard & Turner, 2003). It was to compliment the lower house by seeking errors and any possible oversights in its work (Rémillard & Turner, 2003). The Senate was always intended to be a house of “sober-second” thought. Furthermore, the Senate was meant to equally represent the regions and protect minorities (Rémillard & Turner, 2003). The Senate has a higher percentage of women than compared with the House of Commons (Franks, 2003). Currently the Senate is made up of 38% women while the elected House of Commons is only composed of 24%. It equally represents the provinces with an equal division of seats to the four regions of Canada. At Confederation, without a Senate, it would have been very difficult for the provinces to agree to Confederation without a Senate. The Senate is considered the deal-breaker for the foundation of Canada (Rémillard & Turner, 2003). Without it the country might not have existed. Modern reform calls for either a “Triple-E” senate or abolishment. Many “Triple-E” reformers look at the United States Senate as a …show more content…

The House of Commons has mandatory elections at least every five years. Usually the careers of MP’s are short lived and the house is constantly changing. The terms of senators on average last for about ten to twelve years, which is roughly two to three elections in the House of Commons (Rémillard & Turner, 2003). Since senators sit for longer periods than MP’s, they are able to provide the House of Commons with a more long-term view on legislation and policy issues (Rémillard & Turner, 2003). Without the pressure of having a limited term and seeking re-election, senators are able to conduct extensive research and studies into policy and legislation. The ability of the senate to be able to provide a long-term view on policy making would become non-existent in a “Triple-E” Senate. They would not have the time to devote to these time consuming studies which have benefited Canadians. Furthermore, as member turnover rate in the house increases it is crucial for the Senate to provide a long-term view. Senators also are able to investigate and debate legislation and policy more extensively than their counterparts in the House. Since the legislative process in the house is so dominated by the executive and government agencies meaningful debate in the house begins to erode. With the dominance of the government in the house and its ability to restrict and limit debate the Senate becomes one of

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